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Inhibitors of the Mitochondrial Electron Transport Chain and de novo Pyrimidine Biosynthesis as Antimalarials: The Present Status

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Abstract:

Malaria is a major worldwide public health threat with worrying social and economic burdens due to the rapid emergence of multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum strains. As a result, there is an urgent need to find novel drugs that might overcome clinical resistance to marketed antimalarials. In recent years, the mitochondrial electron transport chain (mtETC) has been explored for the development of new antimalarials. Type II NADH:quinone oxidoreductase (PfNDH2), succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) and cytochrome bc1 have become a major focus of those efforts, leading to several studies of its biochemistry and the design of potent inhibitors. Furthermore, de novo pyrimidine biosynthesis in malaria parasites, particularly dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (PfDHODH), is also receiving increasing attention. The enzymes involved in the mtETC are valuable targets in malaria chemotherapy, not only because they play a critical role in metabolic pathways of P. falciparum, but also because they differ significantly from the analogous mammalian system. Inhibition of such enzymes results in the shutdown of mitochondrial electron flow, leading to the arrest of pyrimidine biosynthesis and consequent parasite death. In this review, we aim to outline recent advances in the inhibition of mitochondrial metabolic pathways, highlighting the major classes of known inhibitors and those that are currently being developed.

Keywords: Malaria; bc1 complex; dihydroorotate dehydrogenase; electron transport chain; mitochondria; succinate dehydrogenase; type II NADH dehydrogenase

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/092986710790820660

Affiliations: iMed.UL, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lisbon, Av. Prof. Gama Pinto 1649-003 Lisbon,Portugal.

Publication date: April 1, 2010

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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